The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Matt Benwell

Lecturer in Human Geography


Matt is a Lecturer in Human Geography. He is convener of the Power, Space and Politics research cluster and a member of the Geographies of Social Change cluster. Before arriving at Newcastle, he was an Early Career Fellow at Keele University in the Research Institute for Social Sciences. He has extensive experience of teaching human geography at undergraduate and postgraduate levels having been a University Teacher at the University of Liverpool, a Teaching Fellow in Human Geography at the University of Reading and Royal Holloway, University of London (where he completed a PGCert in Teaching Skills for Higher Education). He has a PhD, MA in Cultural Geography and BA (Hons) from Royal Holloway, London. 

Research Interests

Matt's research engages with contemporary debates in political and social geography, focusing on how geopolitics is represented, experienced and remembered in people's everyday lives. More specifically, it looks at how young citizens imagine and engage with geopolitical issues, past and present, across a host of different geographies encompassing institutional, domestic and public spaces. The regional focus of Matt's work centres on geopolitics in Latin America with an emphasis on the Southern Cone (predominantly Argentina and Chile) and Antarctica, although he has experience of undertaking research with children and young people in different parts of the world including the UK, South Africa, Argentina and the Falkland Islands. He has recently completed a three year research project investigating young people's perspectives on the Falklands-Malvinas sovereignty dispute in Argentina, the Falklands Islands and the UK. 

For potential PhD students  

Please get in touch if you are interested in pursuing PhD or postdoctoral research on any of the topics listed below:

Critical and feminist geopolitics

- Children and young people's engagements with geopolitics.

- Spaces of memory, commemoration and geopolitics.

- Everyday expressions and performances of national identity. 

- Creative diplomacy (i.e. through the use of online technologies).

Geopolitics of the Southern Cone and Antarctica 

- Popular geopolitics and territorial disputes in the South Atlantic (e.g. the Falklands-Malvinas question).

- Argentina, Chile and Latin America's broader relationship with Antarctica.

- Territory, resources and legal regimes in Antarctica and sub-polar regions.

Researching geopolitics  

- Qualitative and participatory research methods.

- Undertaking research on geopolitics with children and young people.

- Ethnographic approaches to geopolitical research. 

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Young people, nationalism and post-nationalism: multi-cultural belonging in hyper-diverse neighbourhoods - Geography Research Excellence Academy (REA) (2017-2019)

Geographical imaginations of the state and everyday geopolitics: the case of the Southern Cone and Chilean Patagonia - Global Excellence Fund (2015-2017)

Embodied memories, distant territories: examining the perspectives of ex-combatants of the Malvinas War in Santa Fe, Argentina - Santander Mobility Fund (2016)

Memory and territory: comparing young people's perspectives on the Malvinas in Argentina - Newcastle University Research Committee Visiting Fellow, Alejandro Gasel (2015-2016) 

The making of the geopolitical citizen: the case of the Falklands/Malvinas - Early Career Fellowship funded by The Leverhulme Trust (2013-2016)

Young people and stories of the riots: Liverpool 1981 and 2011 - British Academy Small Grant (PI) with Andy Davies and Bethan Evans

Postgraduate Supervision

Evie Hill - Designs for revolution: a visual analysis of Cuba's foreign policy in Africa, 1967-1987 (ESRC 1 3)

Hannah Lyons - Assembling the nation: spatialising young, religious American's affective experiences of the nation, fear and danger in the everyday (ESRC 1 3)

William Whitehead - Escaped roots: sub-self-neutering and its political overcoming in Chocó, Colombia (ESRC 1 3)

Research roles

Head of the Power, Space, Politics research cluster in the School of GPS, Newcastle University

Member of the CLACS Steering Committee

Social media officer, Political Geography Research Group, RGS-IBG

Committee member, Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group, RGS-IBG


Association of American Geographers 

Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers 

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


GEO1015 Contemporary Human Geography of the UK (Lecturer)

GEO2047 Political Geography (Lecturer)

GEO2139 Exploring Everyday Political Geographies in a Divided City: Nicosia (Module Leader and Lecturer)

GEO3102 Geopolitics (Lecturer)